Social Lights July 4, 2020
Greetings, dear Readers.
Because, for the past several months, charity events have only been virtual and the scene across this land of the free has been so hellacious, today I am sharing two essays appropriate to the July Fourth holiday. Hope your personal celebrations are safe and satisfying and that social distancing will not keep us apart much longer.
Image from Berline PR Agency
by Michael Russell, July 1, 2020
…America's mountains, rivers, lakes, and amber waves of grain do not make America, America. Nor does her climate, art, culture, flag, national anthem, industry, indigenous inhabitants, armed forces, politicians, citizenry, or spirit. Like trim on a building or clothing on a man, these are merely attributes peripheral to America's foundation, framework, and soul.
America is, comprehensively and exclusively, her Declaration of Independence and Constitution. With unprecedented wisdom and deliberation, she was created to be, and to endure as, an entity unique in all the world. If America ceases to be that entity, that constitutional republic derived from a declaration of independence, she will cease to be America.
The concept is as clean as the Law of Identity. Just as A can only be A, America can only be America. When what defines America as a creation no longer exists – whether as a result of innocent error, incremental betrayal, or overnight putsch – the thing that takes its place can no longer be called America.
These “ashamed to be American” whiners are not American. Nor are their comrades in politics, art, social media, and journalism who defame America's defining principles. These are the unhealthy inhabitants of a nation created to be healthy. These are spiritless weaklings unwilling to rise to the standard of a free independent citizenry, seeking instead to subvert all standards.
America's defining principles are not for them an inspiration, but a reminder of personal impotence. Their lives, they believe, require not that they become more, but that they make America less. Their response to what makes America, America, is not to honor her requisite virtues, but to twist them into whatever fits their need to be crash survivors voting on who next to eat for dinner.
They don't want to pursue happiness – they want it handed to them. They don't want to achieve liberty – it's too great an imposition and too much trouble to maintain. They reject the right to free speech because an open exchange of ideas threatens their propaganda. They reject the right to bear arms because an armed citizenry can defend itself against them.
In short, they don't want to be American. It's too hard. It requires too much independence, responsibility, integrity, and self-esteem – too much of what originally meant Americanism. They want A to be non-A while evading even the responsibility of calling the non-A by a new name. Their sole ambition is to play musical chairs with reality in the hope that someone else will be left without a chair when the music stops.
That's the simple truth. Here's how Americans can use it.
In every discussion about politics...there is one question that has to be answered before any conversation is engaged. The question is NOT “What does America mean to you?” or “What do you think America means to Republicans or Democrats or the rest of the world?” But strictly and purely the question is “What is the definition of America?”
If the respondent's answer is not “a constitutional republic derived from a declaration of inalienable individual rights,” and the respondent cannot acknowledge the Law of Identity, Americans are morally entitled to decline further discussion and to recommend citizenship in any country already non-American by definition. There is no need for frustration, anger, vilification, or shame. There is only America as America.
The Left has at last been cornered into naming its socialist/ communist/ fascist agenda. In that sense, a modicum of integrity has been imposed upon its functionaries. Since remaking America into Venezuela or Somalia requires no less than the destruction of America, perhaps the Left can again be cornered, this time into choosing a name for its vision and thereby attaining a somewhat higher level of integrity. Clintonia, Hillaria, Obamaland, the United Emirates of Pelosi, Nuevo California, AOCtopia, and Zuckerburgh, for example, are (nation names) all currently available.
Complete integrity would, of course, require a change of citizenship, because there is no such thing as an American Leftist.
Independence Day 2020 Commentary
by Oakland County Michigan Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren, host of Patriot Lessons: American History & Civics podcast, and co-founder of Patriot Week (www.PatriotWeek.org).
Proud to be an American? A recent Gallup poll reveals that such pride has dropped precipitously this year and is at its lowest point since the poll began. 42% are extremely proud, 21% are very proud, 15% are moderately proud, 12% are a little proud, and 9% are not proud at all. As recently as 2016, 81% were extremely or very proud - today it has dropped to 63%.
Is it any wonder? With a toxic political environment, pandemic, economic collapse, and mass protests, our society is fraying at the edges. Meanwhile, our K-12 civics and American history scores are wretched. The Nation’s Report Card shows that less than 25% of eighth graders are proficient in Civics or US History. Meanwhile, the New York Time’s influential 1619 Project twists American History into politically motivated propaganda.
Do we have reason to have some pause about American pride? Certainly. Huge swaths of our past are shameful: slavery; American Indian genocide; discrimination; and police brutality. We can readily critique our history and current flaws.
However, we only can do that because we are Americans. We are brutal with our self-criticism because we are Americans. Because on July 4, 1776, we declared, in writing for the entire world to see, certain self-evident truths to which we dedicated our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. We declared our founding First Principles of equality, limited government, the rule of law, unalienable rights, the Social Compact, and the right to alter or abolish oppressive government. We were the first - and only - nation to do so. That is something to cherish.
There is no doubt that America did not fulfill those First Principles for all in 1776 or even today. But those First Principles inspired generations of patriots to move us closer to their fulfillment. Abolitionism, woman’s suffrage, and the civil rights struggles all called upon the First Principles to push the country toward the arc of justice. Demands for equality, the equal application of the rule of law, and protecting the unalienable rights of everyone is at the heart of the protests against police brutality. Unlike any other country in the world, we stand for trying to move our country closer to our First Principles. This has always taken hard work - and it always will.
Spurious attacks on our foundations and false narratives will lead to the ruin of the greatest, freest nation the world has ever seen. We should not despise the Declaration of Independence and tear down our nation. Instead, like Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., and countless others, we should embrace our First Principles and do our part in improving our great land.
Still, the Gallup poll’s measure of pride is troubling. With appropriate humility, we should rejoice in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, First Principles, and the good that America has accomplished. This is why my daughter and I started Patriot Week’s celebration that spans from September 11 (the anniversary of the terrorist attacks) - September 17 (the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution). We commemorate our First Principles, plus many of the Patriots who helped us better fulfill them. Without a renewal of the spirit of America, our country will die - by suicide - and the world will have lost its last, best hope for freedom. This Independence Day, celebrate our Declaration of Independence, and rededicate yourself to perfecting our Union for the good of all mankind.
Please send Social Lights topic ideas to Sally Gerak at SamGerak@aol.com or to 28 Barbour Lane, Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304.